Fasces wrote:Nothing is "up" in China from a public health perspective. As I stated earlier, this is simply what happens when China's incentive structure meets incompetent officials.
This disaster has four elements:
1. The outbreak in Hong Kong spooked the mainland because of similar vaccination rates. Sinopharm and Sinovac are less effective against new variants than mRNA vaccines because they use inactive virus, so new vaccines and boosters are required for new variants (similar to flu each year).
2. Vaccination is low despite efforts to increase it (1000 RMB gifts for three boosters; a hundred eggs if you go this clinic vs that) simply because covid has been such a non-issue in China. It's not seen as a huge deal because of relatively popular zero-covid measures for international travel and people see the potential side-effects as "not worth it" as a result.
3. The incentive structure in China means that city and province officials care more about directions from Beijing (Don't become a HK situation) than pressures from the people. It is less risky for an official to do what Shanghai did. This is a problem with democratic centralism.
4. The Shanghai officials are incompetent. Qingdao had its own outbreak worry a few weeks before Shanghai, and our lockdown was announced ahead of time, brief, and not a full-lockdown (done on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis). It was entirely a more competent response. There are factors for that - comparative populations, and so on, but complete freezes like that (people stuck in a restaurant for three days, workers locked into factories, children shut off in schools) is fucking retarded, and even Chinese social media is lambasting Shanghai.
Now that the leaders in Shanghai have made the city into an international (and domestic) horror show, they even failed to satisfy the incentives of point 3. More than a few will be retired, a few more stuck in dead-end jobs - though really, many of the people making these decisions should be criminally prosecuted for incompetence.
I'm late on this, but I live in Shanghai and I live in a district that started total lockdown around the beginning of March, a month before the whole city went into lockdown until June. It was even more incompetent than you might be aware of. Shanghai has two main divisions: Puxi (West Shanghai) and Pudong (east). There was supposed to be a lockdown starting in Pudong on April 1st, after Puxi's lockdown days before that. Around March 29th at around 9 PM, the Shanghai government announced Pudong would be locked down at 3 AM, in six hours. The scenes of mass panic and chaos at stores, supermarkets, and communities were incredible.
To add to your observations, I notice many decisions are made late at night with little notice at all. I suspect that's to avoid days of criticism if certain major decisions are made in a more reasonable span of time.
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